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Boomers in search of an encore

Dear Abby: "Searching for 'Me' in Texas" (March 4) is not alone! A wave of 78 million baby boomers will soon leave careers and are looking forward to an estimated 20 more years of life.

"Searching" should seek out a nonprofit organization for a cause she's passionate about. If she doesn't need an income, she can volunteer. Instead of seeking a graduate degree, she could look at her local community college and find noncredit classes that interest her.

-- Stephanie in Phoenix

Dear Stephanie: Your suggestions are all good ones. Read on for more options:

Dear Abby: Your advice to "Searching" was dead-on. After a 30-year career in the insurance industry, I was forced into early retirement by a corporate buyout. At 59, I was stunned. After some soul searching, I decided I wasn't done with life.

There were false starts. I tried out for the Peace Corps but backed out. I got into an income tax class that was over my head. I got another insurance job and found myself back in the rat race.

I made ends meet by substitute teaching and began to realize that I had wanted to be a teacher. So I started back to college for my master's degree in teaching.

Talk about scared! It had been 33 years since I had seen the inside of a classroom. But my experience was one of the most challenging, positive and enriching I have ever known.

-- Catherine in Illinois


Dear Abby: "Searching" might consider volunteering with SCORE -- Service Corps of Retired Executives. Her skills are needed and would be appreciated. That way she can dabble in her old work and have a sense of accomplishment.

-- Charles in Maryland


Dear Abby: As a volunteer coordinator at a large nonprofit, I have many volunteers who discovered us as a result of a retirement search. The AARP's volunteer engagement site is, and is a nationwide site for searching volunteer opportunities.

-- Jan in Yardley, Pa.